A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Digital Nova Scotia and Resulta for a Women’s Day event called Owning Your Seat. The panel was filled with women at different stages of career development and life across the span of the digital sector. I was jazzed to be invited. But the first thing I thought was, Why are they asking me?
It was a lot like how I felt when I was asked to join the DNS Board of Directors.
Or how I felt when recruiters hit my inbox with job opportunities.
So it seemed only fitting that, moments before we began our panel discussion, the moderator asked me if I’d be open to starting the chat with a question about imposter syndrome. I mean, it was like he knew!
When I first wanted to start blogging, I shared the desire with someone close to me. Their response? Who would want to read what you write? I took it to heart. But, I also let it light a fire. The truth is that I wanted to (and still want to) write for me. Because I love it.
Imposter Syndrome, if you’re fortunate enough to be unfamiliar, is described as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills”. It could also be described as that nagging feeling that you’re not good enough – something I think many of us have experienced at work and in our lives. We wait, almost on eggshells, for someone to realize we don’t belong.
But, we do.
Overcoming imposter syndrome can feel like a monumental task. Here are three ways I tackled (and honestly, still tackle it).
build yourself up through proof
Whenever imposter syndrome throws me for a loop, I have a tried and true process for getting myself sorted out again. It sounds simple, and it is, but it works. Ready?
I do what I’m really good at.
The best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to have confidence in your abilities. One of the best ways to have confidence in your abilities it to remind yourself, show yourself, what a motherforking badass you are.
Writing is my jam. PR is my jam. By focusing on and crushing work that I’m really good at, I make myself feel better and more confident almost instantly… plus, I get into a more productive mindset that helps me get energized to jump into tasks that I feel less confident about.
mindset over all
I used to really hate the motivational posters around my grade schools that said shit like “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” but… it’s kinda true, isn’t it?
I mean, it’s not actually true because you can do all kinds of things you might tell yourself you can’t but if your mindset sucks, so will your work. Enter the low-key cringey and very cheesy Positive Self Talk. Adopt a mantra if that’s what works for you.
I have literally driven home from a daycare drop-off after a hairy morning when I know I have an insane workload waiting for me when I log on repeating the words “I’ve got this” or “I can do this” the whole way. I’m not kidding.
Do I always believe myself the first time I say it? No. But I *can* always do it, whatever “it” is.
I talk to myself the way I talk to my kids when I’m feeling like an imposter in my work and life. I use words of encouragement. And I go to the proof points: Look at what I’ve already accomplished.
trust in your hype humans
Although I do believe that what other people think of me is generally none of my business, I’ve learned to believe in and trust the opinions of my hype humans. Hype Humans are the people in your life who cheer you on. They think you’re the tits because, I mean, YOU ARE, but they know it and they’re not about to let you forget it.
Sometimes when I’m freelancing, I start to low-ball myself. One of my fav Hype Humans, Jody, likes to remind me that “we do not undervalue ourselves” and will remind me that I am worth the invoice for my clients.
Maybe your hype human is your mom. Maybe it’s your bestie, your spouse, or your colleague. Whoever they are, trust them when they say you rock. Sometimes looking at ourselves through their eyes is exactly what we need to realize that we belong exactly where we are and that we can do the hard things.
I’d love to tell you that by doing any or all of these things, you’ll instantly and forever cure your imposter syndrome. But, I would be lying. So I will not tell you that. What I will tell you, though, is this:
Imposter syndrome is a bitch. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. It can be the byproduct of being poorly onboarded at your job or office politics. It can be fuelled by a shitty ex-partner or bad boss who made you constantly feel inadequate. And it can also be random and relentless.
What imposter syndrome is not is a reflection of your skills, abilities, or your value.
You can do this. Yes, you.